The Home of the RV Industry on the Internet
    October 2002 Volume 28 - Number 3    

Cover Story     


    

Featuring: International RV World, Elkhart, Indiana

"Big Jim" Harvey It's a Family Affair 

By Al Hesselbart

Bobbie (left) and Big Jim Harvey are a husband and wife team that have made a difference in many people’s lives, both customers and staff.

When Vikki and Dave Titus joined Jim Harvey's RV sales business in Florida, they got more than they bargained for. That's because Jim Harvey isn't your normal RV industry employer. When you join this operation, as Vikki and Dave discovered, it isn't just a job -- you become part of Jim's family. That includes the mutual love, trust and respect that bonds families together. 

After stints in Florida and Branson, Missouri, stores, the Titus' landed at the International RV World store in the heart of the RV industry -- Elkhart, Indiana. 

The day RV News showed up to begin work on this article, we met the legendary, "Big Jim," as he's lovingly called, and his wife and business partner Bobbie. 

We're not sure whether the "Big Jim" moniker is because of his size --- he's certainly a tall muscular man with wavy white hair; or it might be his big warm smile when he greets you -- it's easy to see why he's sold thousands of RVs over his long career; but more than likely it's because of his big heart -- someone willing to take a young family, give them a career and make them part of his extended family. 

But whatever the reason, you know that the name "Big Jim" is well deserved. 

To say that RVs are in his blood, might be an understatement. 

He was born in a trailer during the Great Depression in 1936, worked in his father's trailer and mobile home business in his teen years and ventured out on his own as an RV dealer in 1957. His entire life has been spent in the RV business. 

In 1946, Jim's dad opened a small trailer sales lot on Telegraph Road north of Detroit. As soon as Jim was 16 and could operate a vehicle, he began delivering units for his father's business that had, by then, moved north to Flint. 

Five years later, when he was twenty-one years old, "Big Jim" Harvey left his father's business and opened his own retail operation in Alpena, Michigan. 

At first, he sold both RVs and .mobile homes. but soon got out of the housing market to specialize in RV sales and service. That breakaway in 1957 grew and developed from the early "Harvey's Trailer Sales" into International RV World stores in Bay City, Michigan, Winter Garden, Florida, Branson, Missouri, and Elkhart, Indiana.




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